By Frank Warren
The fight game is very much in fashion again – even the Royals are having a bash! The Duchess of Cambridge, along with the Princes William and Harry, donned the gloves this week for a pop on the pads with Duke McKenzie at the ‘Heads Together’ event to raise awareness of mental health issues.
The Royal seal of approval for gloving up demonstrates a growing appreciation of the sport as a form of fitness for all in this PlayStation generation. Those youngsters who actually want to compete for real go on to realise the benefits of diet, conditioning and discipline that boxing demands.
It is a sport that ticks all the boxes as far as health and fitness in concerned and it is a pastime I believe the government should embrace and invest in. The new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is from fighting stock, with his brother Sid being head coach at Earlsfield ABA and I anticipate he will extol the virtues of boxing and fight its corner in the capital during his term of office.
More and more kids are trying their hand at boxing and the amateur structure in this country is currently the envy of the world. The ambition of most successful amateurs is to eventually turn professional and that is where we come in.
We have an unparalleled record of developing young professional prospects to reach their potential, steering careers in the correct fashion and giving them every opportunity to succeed.
Others come to us when their management or trainers believe we can help take them to the next level, to gain greater exposure on big shows and to be presented with shots at a titles. We have had a catalogue of success stories when it comes to creating opportunities.
What we don’t do is simply look to just pluck established boxers from the hands of other promoters in order to bolster our ranks. We are about nurturing young fighters and developing them towards headline status on our flourishing BoxNation platform.
There are parallels with the bringing through of young players at successful football clubs. We like to view ourselves as an Academy of boxing and I honestly believe we have the best young stable in the country.
We have recently recruited young Lucien Reid, 22, to our talented young squad. The sharp super bantamweight holds a 4-0 record and will debut for us on June 10 along with a host of other young prospects at the York Hall.
We will keep them all busy, get them the right fights and BoxNation viewers will be able to chart their progress as they move towards title contention. Our promotion last Friday at Bolton’s Macron Stadium provided a showcase for our young fighters from the North West region and I’m sure you will agree there were more than a few well worth keeping a watch on.
I was particularly impressed with the mature and effective performance from the headliner Jack Catterall in countering the challenge of English title holder Joe Hughes. Jack is now more than ready to step up for the British title and we hope to present him with the opportunity later in the year.
Several fighters have recently hooked up with us having forged a decent reputation in their early career contests. The likes of Hughie Fury and Jamie Conlan have entrusted us with the job of pushing their careers onwards and upwards. After their opening fights on our shows and channel, Hughie now holds the WBO Intercontinental title and a No.6 world ranking, with Jamie now the holder of the Commonwealth title.
We are now looking to enhance the career prospects of Darryll ‘Ferocious’ Williams in the super middleweight division. Darryl is 13-0, the holder of the Southern Area title, and we look forward to pushing him on to greater heights in the coming months.
He will also feature at the York Hall on June 9 and is one of a number to look out for. I would, however, urge you to keep a watchful eye on the rapid progress of our light-heavyweight handful Anthony Yarde.
We’ve got so much young talent and I don’t usually like to single out individuals, but this boy is a really exciting banger and, dare I say it, perhaps the nearest I’ve seen to a young Nigel Benn.
With the launch of BoxNation we were determined to develop the finest young domestic talent to grow with the channel. We are nearing the conclusion of our fifth year broadcasting 24-7 boxing to the nation and have demonstrated that, for the best young fighters, BoxNation is, indeed, the place to be.
More from Frank tomorrow